Interview with Marie Klingberg Allvin, Professor at KBH 2021

Hello and congratulations to your Professorship.

Your colleagues at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health are interested to know a little more about you and you work.

Marie Klingberg Allvin

Who are you? 

I have a bachelor degree in nursing from Karolinska Institutet (KI) (1998). After my midwifery exam in 2001, I came back, now as a PhD student at the Department of Global Public Health. It was within the frame of the National Research School in Healthcare and Science I began my research education at KI in the fall of 2001, workplace at Dalarna University. I grew up in Leksand, Dalarna. In 2002 I was offered a position at Dalarna University and in that role I have been a PhD student and later teacher and responsible for the midwifery education. Between the years 2013-2018, I had the university-wide assignment linked to internationalization, I was member of the Faculty Board, pro-vice-chancellor and finally acting vice-chancellor during the last year. In the summer of 2018, the family, Agnes 15, Adam 12, Patrik my husband and I moved to Michigan, USA, due to Patrik’s work. I am since 2018 Adjunct Professor at the University of Michigan.

Can you describe your research? 

I defended my thesis with focus on pregnancy outcome and care need among adolescence in the Vietnam, in 2007 at the Department of Public Health Science, KI. My research since the defense has focused on women’s right to safe abortion and contraceptives in low-income countries were maternal mortality is high. Results based on intervention studies in Uganda and Kenya have shown that midwives can take on a greater responsibility for abortion and contraceptive counseling and that simplified medical abortion in rural India is effective and safe. Compared to the doctors, midwives are far numerous and more accessible for women in, for example, Uganda, especially in the rural areas. Research show that if investing in educating and involving midwives in post-abortion care, accessibility to safe treatment increases and with that, the risk of maternity mortality can decrease. In 2010, I began an education and research collaboration with partners in Somaliland that has generated an extensive research base that contributes to fill knowledge gaps in Somaliland and in Sweden. The collaboration is in close cooperation with surrounding actors such as the Health Ministry, the University and the Midwifery organization in Somaliland, as well as municipality and county council in Sweden. Society benefits are in focus of the implemented conducted projects and create conditions for how newly accomplished knowledge can be most useful. Research gives transcultural perspective and is important for integrational perspective. This is an example of how I want to run collaboration with education and research that contributes to capacity development in a low resource context as well as in health care in Sweden.

Of what subject is your Professorship and what do you hope to achieve as a Professor at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health?

My Professorship is of Reproductive Health and is a special effort to integrate education and research within the field. With a history as responsible program coordinator for the midwifery education and as vice-chancellor responsible to strengthen both education and research, through creating coherent academic environments, I have obtained experience that I believe our Department can gain from. I was the driving force in developing and implementing a web-based master education for midwives in Somaliland and Bangladesh that is expected to strengthen the midwife education, improve health care and over time decrease maternal and child mortality. I will continue to work with cross culture perspectives to strengthen sexual and reproductive health globally and locally through both education and research, which is necessary in order to face the challenges in society and the Agenda 2030 sustainability goals. I want to use my 15 years of experience of developing net-based leraning and education and hope to find overall department collaborations around it at KI. Women’s access to safe abortion and contraceptives is limited by laws, attitudes in society and the political will to invest in women’s prenatal health. Abortion is a direct consequence of unplanned pregnancies and can be prevented by accessible contraceptives and counseling. I want to continue contribute with new knowledge that shows what it takes to increase the number of caregivers that offer safe and effective health care for abortion and contraceptive counseling from a global perspective. My collaborators are researcher from McMaster University, Canada, University of Michigan, USA and the local Universities in Somaliland and Congo. The team is interdisciplinary with competence within the health system, health economy, health care, health care quality and clinical studies.

Do you have any hidden talents / leisure interests?

Our move to the USA has created more time for the family and opportunity for my children to combine school with sports. With two kids that play soccer and hockey, I use my leisure time driving and supporting them. It is very inspiring and uplifting to follow your kids in their respective sport and to watch them develop and adjust to new situations and social contexts. I grew up in Leksand, sort of a hockey Mecca, my husband works for Pittsburgh Penguins and some of our time is spent following their success and sometimes failures. I have started to play golf again (after 30 years) as a way to relax and spend time with my family.

Thank you very much for your answers and welcome as a Professor at KBH.